What is a wine cooperative and how does it work?
A wine cooperative is simply a group of winegrowers and wine estates who join together and pool their grapes as well as all the production and marketing stages for their wines.
There are several ways that a winegrower can make an income from their wine: producing and selling the wine by themselves, selling the wine and/or the grapes to a wine merchant, or joining a wine cooperative to which they entrust the grapes, the wine processing and the marketing.
The wine cooperative belongs to its members and accompanies them throughout the stages of production as well as pooling the grape harvests to process and market its wines.
Decision-making, pooling, and shared values
At Univitis, we work democratically and vote for each strategic decision within the cooperative (1 person = 1 vote). Thus, our 160 winegrower members elect the members of the Board of Directors at the General Assembly, who in turn elect the members of the Bureau and the President.
Each member of the wine cooperative has the same rights, regardless of the amount of capital they have contributed. As an economic enterprise based on solidarity, we endeavour to either invest the profits generated within the wine cooperative, in order to improve and develop it, or we distribute them to the members.
However, the Univitis wine cooperative is above all guided by strong values, expert knowledge of our terroirs and the desire to place people and solidarity at the heart of our concerns.
How does Univitis support its member winegrowers?
As a wine cooperative and an organisation based on solidarity, our objective at Univitis is to enable our member winegrowers to achieve a sustainable business by pooling their production resources with the aim of producing the best possible wines. We pay particular attention to letting each winegrower practice their trade as they wish, to remain as close as possible to their values and allow them to express themselves through the grapes they produce.
Accompaniment from the vine to the cellar
Throughout the year, our viticulture team is responsible for monitoring the members and ensuring that they are accompanied as best as possible, guiding them to produce a quality wine. This support includes not only technical advice, but also informing them of the most environmentally friendly growing methods (HVE3, organic viticulture…)
The viticulture team also works closely with the oenology team, which studies the vines and the grapes closely throughout their development in order to improve production. Depending on the needs of the sales and marketing team, the viticulture team assists the winegrowers in selecting new plots or new vine treatments (pruning, fertilisation, soil work…) in order to produce wines that are in line with market demands.
Vinification, blending and bottling
Once their grapes have reached maturity, each winemaker entrusts their production to the winemaking team who will vinify, mature and blend the different grape varieties harvested to create exceptional wines. The Univitis winemaking team consists of a technical director, who supervises the cellar master and the winemaking site managers. These individuals are assisted by expert cellarers and cellar assistants who prepare and clean the vats, and monitor the vatting and pressing operations.
At Univitis, we are always looking for ways to improve and optimise our winemaking methods and techniques. We do our utmost to respect traditional winemaking methods by adding state-of-the-art equipment in order to adapt to technical developments such as thermovinification. We remain convinced that in order to develop the wines we produce, the work is essentially concentrated in the vineyard and in the knowledge of our terroirs to produce quality grapes. Once the new vintage has been blended, all our member winegrowers are invited to a preview tasting.
Our wine cooperative is equipped with a state-of-the-art bottling line and we also offer “made-to-measure” packaging services to professionals (customers, merchants, etc.). Univitis therefore takes care of all the stages of wine creation, from the vine to the finished product. This allows us to follow the product and create the best possible wine, which is the fundamental strength of our cooperative status.
Sales and marketing
Upstream and throughout these creation processes, our sales and marketing teams work together to build the branding and story of each wine created. Each new range is presented to the winemakers and board members before release.